The Unsupported Shoulder Pose of Yoga Reduces Premature Aging
This asana has the stimulating power of tonics. The entire body is toned with increased blood flow. Toxin-forming waste matter is easily eliminated. With maximum blood flow towards your head and face, this exercise slows down the evident signs of ageing like wrinkling of the face. It also prevents the accumulation of excess fat around the midriff and has a slimming effect on your waistline.
These potent benefits come at a price. The process of doing the Niralamba Sarvangasana is not all that easy. The name itself literally means “full-bodied exercise without any support.” And true to its name, you need to literally turn topsy-turvy and hold on to this position for some time. So this exercise is not for the faint-hearted, nor for the infirm. You need to be supple, adventurous, and strong in body and mind to attempt to learn this exercise
How to do the Niralamba Sarvangasana
Double fold a thick blanket and place it on a mat. Position yourself near the corner of a room so that there is a wall quite near your head (say about six inches). Lie face up on the blanket so that your head lies below the blanket while your back is on the blanket. Place your arms on with palms flat on the mat. Place your legs together with your big toes touching each other.
Breathe easy and relax. Now press your palms against the mat to help you to give an upward push to your hips. Lift your feet off the mat and take your legs to a position that is perpendicular to your torso. Your hip is the pivot for this movement of your legs. Place your palms flat on your lower back to act as stilts to support your erect posture.
Pause and then lift your hip and continue raising your legs until your back and legs are aligned in a straight line. Now your neck and shoulders are the pivot and your entire torso is erect upside down. Your arms are still acting like stilts supporting your upper back. Pause for the real challenge that comes now. Take a deep breath and touch your toes to the wall and rest them there. Now release your hands and rest them too on the wall.
With your position secured by your hands and toes that are resting against the wall, you may slowly withdraw your legs away from the wall. As you move away from the wall, stiffen the muscles of your arms and securely rest your hands on the wall. Now bring your feet erect, keeping them absolutely vertical. Pause for some time until you are able to gain confidence that you will retain your balance. Now gradually move your hands away from the wall, one at a time and place them vertically along your torso with your fingertips pointing upwards.
When you are in this position your neck is being supported by the folds of the thick blanket, while your head is below the blanket on the floor (or mat). Pause for some time and then exit from this pose.
How to Exit from the Niralamba Sarvangasana
Lower your arms to the floor and rest your elbows on the blanket. Now with your elbows supporting you, bend your legs from your knees until your knees are near your face. Now bend your arms from your elbows and place your palms against your back to act as stilts once again. Slowly rotate your legs toward the floor in front of your head and bring your feet down one after the other and straighten your legs and place them on the floor until your heels rest on the floor. Your have done it. Now relax and breathe easy. Repeat all the above steps till you feel comfortable doing so.
Benefits of the Niralamba Sarvangasana
With the maximum flow of blood to your head and face, your facial health improves and this slows down the evident signs of aging like wrinkles and frayed skin. Your brain too receives an increased supply of blood so your gray cells are re-activated. This improves memory, slows down senility, improves eyesight and reduces hair loss. As your abdomen is turned upside down, your abdominal organs too function better and secrete more. With more insulin from your pancreas your blood sugar is regulated and with more bile form the liver your digestion is improved.
The muscles of your shoulders and neck also are toughened. This exercise also makes you slimmer by reducing the accumulated fat around your midriff. It also builds your body’s resistance against hernia, piles and urinary kidney-related ailments. You would also experience reduction of fatigue.
You draw these benefits if you do this exercise daily and are able to hold yourself in this position for increasingly longer durations.
To derive comprehensive benefits from the different yoga exercises, do this exercise along with other yoga exercises like the Ardha Chandrasana to resist ailments like osteoporosis and slipped disc, the Mandukasana to resist diabetes, and the Halasana to exercise your entire body with a single posture.
Who Should Not Do the Niralamba Sarvangasana
Those who have high or low blood pressure, hip, neck or back ailments or postural vertigo should not do this exercise. In any case, do consult your doctor and learn to do this exercise under the close personal supervision of your yoga therapist. Having a partner around would help while learning to do this exercise.
Eat Food with High Nutrient Value
Insist on food with high nutrient value. Eat non-greasy, high fiber and low calorie food. This can supplement your yoga exercises and help you to get the best out of them.